What Is The Status Of The River Parks Projects?

Sunday, April 19th 2009, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Crews are working overtime to finish up the new QuikTrip park at 41st Street and Riverside Drive.

The $5 million recreational center will open in less than two weeks. In total, $15 million are devoted to improvements around the river trails.

"They're working seven days a week now to get it done," designer manager Keith Franklin said. "So it's going to be a crunch, obviously."

After months of work, crews are set to unveil the multimillion-dollar recreation center at the end of the month. The new restroom, pavilion and splash pads for kids are in place.

The design team went with a Denmark company for the playground.

"This is a very, very modern, unique design," Franklin said.

Workers still have to fix the parking lot and connect the pipes to the water fountains.

The River Parks Authority is making headway in a seven-mile stretch of trail renovations.

"There's a lot more to the trails than just the asphalt," Matt Meyer, River Parks director.

On Friday the last stretch of old trail between 51st and 71st streets was taped off.

Four miles of the new, extra-wide trails is already open to runners, starting at 11th Street.

"It's pretty appealing," runner Scott Herbst said. "Tulsa's a great place."

Turkey Mountain is also getting a facelift. Work began at the end of March on a million-dollar project to double the parking lot and build a restroom and pavilion.

"To be able to have kind of an urban setting and also be out in the middle of nature, it's nice," Herbst said.

City leaders point to the new lighting, benches and drinking fountains and say the upgrades aren't costing taxpayers a cent.

"I've never been in a community where you have so much private funding to make such public improvements," Meyer said. "Tulsa's really blessed."

The Kaiser Foundation has donated more than $13 million to fund the projects.

The only section of river trails that won't be touched this summer is the area around Interstate 44. Riverparks officials say they will fix that up once the highway widening is complete.